My mother was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer with no metastasis two years ago. This was isolated in the lower lobe of her right lung. She had a lobectomy and made a full recovery, albeit a difficult one. Last week, she had a follow up CAT scan which showed "an 11mm nodule in the right upper lobe with spiculated margins concerning for recurrent neoplasm. A calcified subcentimeter granuloma is seen in the right apical region, while areas of scarring in the right middle lobe and right lower lobe remain stable." Her surgeon recommends a repeat CAT scan in 4 months. (!?!) Mom is an otherwise relatively healthy 80 year old woman. Thoughts??? Thanks in advance for your insight.
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Has she seen a pulmonologist?
Does she take any medication?
Not recently. All of her post-surgical care has been with the surgeon who did the lobectomy. She is in on quite a bit of different meds, the names which are not available to me at this moment.
Okay, the surgeon wants to wait 4 months to determine if the nodule is cancerous or not, which is reasonable, if it is cancer he will have to remove the affected lobe
Another test that may help is a PET scan, it will aid in determining if the nodule is cancerous
Does it seem unreasonable to wait for 4 months or would potential for metastasis grow exponentially with each passing week?
It is not unreasonable to wait 4 months, there would not likely be significant metastasis within that time
I was also under the impression that it would be unusual to conduct another lung surgery for recurrent cancer. Is this your experience as well?
No, if it is cancer then the ONLY definitive treatment is surgery, chemotherapy and radiation do not usually cure lung cancer
Thanks very much for your insight! Very much appreciated...